Students, staff fear prestigious film institute going for privatisation; management says it's only an upgrade
Is the country's premier film institute going to be privatised? If rumours floating around on the campus of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) are to be believed, then it may be true. While students and even some staffers have started silent protests against the purported move, senior officials at the institute rubbished the claims as 'motivated' attacks.
According to sources, the issue of privatisation arose after a Gurgaon-based firm Hewitt Associates, which was appointed to prepare a plan for upgradation of the institute, indicated Rs 153 crore might be needed for the purpose."The amount that is sanctioned by the ministry for upgradation is merely Rs 52 crore. So, where will the extra money come from to meet the expenses? We are quite sure there is a bid to privatise the institute and raise the funds needed for it. But if that happens then many students might not be able to afford the fees as naturally money spent would be recovered from us," said a student representative.
discontent brewing: Rumours are rife on campus that FTII will soon be privatised. Pic/Nikhil Ghorpade
Sources added that the same matter was discussed at the meeting of the Staff Association of FTII (STAFTII) held on Tuesday, where most staffers opposed the idea of upgradation.
"At the end of the report it's mentioned that this is confidential and should not be shared with anyone except senior management. Why was this clause put in? We feel this isn't a move to upgrade but change over management," said a staff member requesting anonymity.
When contacted K Ayyathurai, president of STAFTII, confirmed that the meeting was held but refused to give any details.
"I don't want to divulge any information to the press at the moment," he said.
THE OTHER SIDE
Pankaj Rag, director of FTII, said that he was aware of the rumours floating on the campus and called them false.
"I know that some people are spreading false information about the institute being privatised. I want to make it clear that they are not true.
The proposal is merely to upgrade FTII to the status of a global film school and the proposal has not been kept under wraps.
I have given it to the staffers and if they still doubt it, it's quite surprising," said Rag.
He said the proposal would be presented before the governing council of FTII today for consideration.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFETER THE UPGRADE
> More short-term courses, of durations ranging from two to 15 months
> A world-class placement centre for students
> Upgradation of administrative building, hostels, campus compound, teaching building, among other things
> New structures for studios and a digital media research centre
Hall of fame Well known alumni of FTII are Jaya Bachchan, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Resul Pookutty, Mithun Chakraborty, Prakash Jha, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, John Abraham, Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Raj Kumar Hirani.